In all my years working in the fitness industry, I have noted patterns of behavior that many of us share. Unfortunately, most of the behavioral patterns that I see are destructive and hold us back from getting what we really want. This is a shame, as I do believe that people begin a new fitness and eating plan with good intentions. Here is but one of the many negative thought patterns that I have observed over the years and have fallen prey to, myself: Thinking of yourself as GOOD or BAD!
If you believe that you are good when you stick to your plan and bad when you take a detour or have a minor setback, you are going to turn a LAPSE into a RELAPSE and finally, suffer a total COLLAPSE!
Let’s say you fall off the wagon. First, you tell yourself you are bad; yes, you are a bad person because you ate the left over pizza in the fridge. Labeling yourself as “bad” will make you feel like a failure. You are not good at anything, and Mother was right: you will never marry, have seven cats and die alone. You think, “What’s the use of even trying?”
Now you feel like you have “blown it,” and since you are a bad person AND a failure and have blown it, why not just totally blow it?
Finally, you spiral into state of worthlessness because you are bad, you are a failure, you have “blown it,” and you have wasted one more day of your life that you’ll never get back.
Sound familiar? I have been stuck here, circling the drain, myself.
If you don’t know what you really want, how in the world are you going to get it? You need to set goals in such a way that you know exactly what you are working to achieve, you can measure your progress along the way, and the goals must be realistic, considering who you are and the life you lead. Here are some tips to get you started setting effective goals that will get you where you want to go.
Set specific goals: Rather than say, “I want to get in shape,” specify or detail exactly what you want. A more specific way of setting goals is to say, “I want to reduce my waist measurement by 3 inches and increase my strength and flexibility.”
Set measurable goals: How will you measure your progress? Rather than say, “I want to walk more and get in better cardiovascular condition,” say, “I want to walk two miles every day at a rate of 15 minutes per mile.” The progress of this goal can be easily measured, as the goal itself is worded in such a way that you can track your progress.
Set attainable goals: The kiss of death for most people is biting off more than they can chew. You have to set a goal that will challenge you, but not defeat you. Be realistic about who you are, the constraints on your life, and what you are willing to do (or not.)